tv Headline News RT January 31, 2013 5:00pm-5:30pm EST
he's the first man to speak out about enhanced interrogation tactics used by the cia has been called a hero by human rights advocates classified of villain by the government now cia whistleblower john kiriakou sits down with our stay tuned for an interview you won't want to miss. and the u.s. economy takes a sharp turn down word in the fourth quarter of two thousand and twelve but was the previous quarter a successful what coming up party looks at accusations the bureau of labor statistics manipulated economic data to benefit president obama's reelection campaign the question is were you right or wrong that you're pretty straightforward question well i would i would like to answer with you right or wrong then you are free to elaborate just a small piece of a very heated hearing chuck hagel is going on the defense on capitol hill today as one congress member after another take shots at his readiness to lead the defense
department a look at this war of words coming up. thursday january thirty first i'm liz wall here in washington d.c. and you're watching r t we begin today taking a look at whistleblowers in america former cia agent john kiriakou was sentenced to thirty months in prison just a few days ago he struck a plea deal and admitted to revealing the identity of a covert officer to a reporter he was originally charged with violating the espionage act kiriakou was the first cia official to publicly confirm the use of waterboarding and other tactics he describes as torture under the bush administration but his supporters believe he's being unfairly targeted and punished for blowing the whistle on this government practice john kiriakou himself joins us now in one of his. final
interviews before he goes to print that along with javelin radicals is attorney really appreciate you both being here today no time is for me is of the essence for you want to start off by asking you about this plea deal that you struck with the government and what it is that you admitted to right i admitted to confirming the name of a former colleague to a journalist who was looking for former cia officers to interview for a book. plain and simple and this is a far cry to what the the prosecution was going after you for it of violating the espionage act doesn't it can you go into what that accusation means and what that entails sure yes a lot of people who are whistleblowers in fact six of them have been charged under the espionage act which is an antiquated war war world war one law meant to go after spies not whistleblowers and being charged under it means that you revealed national defense information with the intent to harm the united states or benefit
a foreign nation now both of the cases so far that have completely dropped all espionage act charges or thomas drake and john kiriakou the espionage charges have completely gone away they've been used rather as a hammer to force people like john into a plea bargain now john of a these are very serious accusations brought against you know who yes. did you ever feel like you were putting anyone's life in danger oh no certainly not certainly not if if i had any inkling that there was a danger to anyone i would have never said anything about anybody but no this reporter was looking for someone to interview for a book former cia officers refer one another to journalists all the time for the purpose of books or interviews or documentaries and and the justice department used that to to prosecute me and you were the first person to publicly
disclose the use of torture that that this actually went on and you called that this practice of waterboarding and you called it torture this was revealed in an interview with a.b.c. back in two thousand and seven i believe we have that clip there. as time has passed and has as september eleventh has as you know has moved farther and farther back into history i think i've changed my mind and i think that waterboarding is probably something that we should be in the business of doing why do you say that. because we're americans and we're better than that. now john why did you decide to make us public that the government in fact uses this tactic of waterboarding and call it torture. because the bush administration more specifically president bush at the time was lying to the american people by saying that we were not waterboarding prisoners we were not torturing anyone and if anyone was being
tortured it was a result of rogue officers inside the cia i said that not only were we torturing prisoners but this was an official u.s. government policy and it was approved by the president himself serious saying the use of torture wasn't rare that it wasn't grained and policy correct it was ingrained in policy it was being done on a regular basis can you tell us more about this torture program that you expose the various techniques that are you sure there were a bunch of different techniques something like ten and they range from the benign for example a cia officer grabbing a prisoner by the lapels that was the most basic level technique going all the way up to some of the terrible things that you've heard of like waterboarding there were actually couple that i always thought were worse than waterboarding one was sleep deprivation and i don't mean sleep deprivation for forty eight hours i mean
sleep deprivation for something like two weeks with no sleep with heavy metal music blasting into your cell. you actually lose your mind with that kind of sleep deprivation and some of these prisoners got to the point where they were unable to participate in their own defenses because they couldn't think straight for the lack of sleep another one was what was called the cold cell they would put a prisoner into a cell that was chilled to fifty or fifty five degrees and then throw ice water on them every hour to just terrible treatment and to what end i'm there's no evidence that that any of these techniques ever resulted in actionable. teligent intelligence that that led to the disruption of a terrorist attack no evidence whatsoever not some of the prosecutors in this case so what they're saying is that you are seeking fame by and by disclosing information and i was building a consulting business all they had to do was look at my ten forty my income tax
return to show that i was broke that i got absolutely nothing out of going on a.b.c. news in two thousand and seven and blowing the whistle on torture absolutely nothing now will president obama he has vowed to have this transparent administration in here talking about this way to make government accountable is make it transparent so the american people can know exactly what decisions are being made made how they're being made and whether their interests are being well served. now how would you compare president obama has administration to the bush administration with the exception of the formal ban on torture i'm honestly not seeing a lot of difference between the obama administration in the bush administration except maybe that the obama administration has killed far more people using drones than the bush administration ever did but i've believed from just about the beginning of the obama presidency that this was really an extension of the bush
counterterrorism policy there was nothing new and gentle and i know that you've worked with with whistleblowers what do you think how do you turn view president obama and compare that to the bush administration especially in light of him saying that his administration is going to be one that is transparent well first of all i should say that both john and i have voted for obama so this is not being an anti obama thing but obama took the bush secrecy regime and expanded that by an order of magnitude everything including classification numbers have gone up the number of people being targeted for assassination has gone up the actual number of people we've been killing has gone up instead of torturing people we're just blowing them off the face of the planet so i think it's gotten worse under obama it has been just stayed the same and his affirmatively gotten worse john i
want to address what the judge said in this case when she handed you the sentence judge leoni brinkema she said i think thirty months is way too light she goes on to say that this is not a case of a whistleblower. could you address her remarks and certainly when i accepted the plea in october of two thousand and twelve judge brinkema commented at that time in open court that thirty months was a was a fair and appropriate. deal. i can only speculate of course but in january just last friday the courtroom was packed with reporters and she may have seen an opportunity to to look tough in a case like mine that's one point and the other point is and this is a point that just makes very well in a national security case the prosecution has the ability to have a private ex parte communication with the judge they did that in my case neither my
lawyers nor i have any idea what the prosecutors said to the judge and they gave the judge a so-called victim impact statement that was classified top secret and that i was not permitted to see so i was not permitted to defend myself this was an ongoing theme through the course of my of my court case i was not permitted to defend myself so she she may have listened to whatever it was that the prosecutors told her and decided that thirty months was an appropriate she did say specifically that if she had the ability she would have given me ten years. so you think things are going on behind closed doors that are way down to the penny and i'm positive there's a patent unfairness in the still secure decimally army much of the sentencing hearing in john's case was based around a secret document that neither the public nor the defendant john had access to
and that i thought was what was behind her comments that had inflamed the sentencing penalty also the judge and the government don't get to decide who is a whistleblower one becomes a whistleblower through operation of law by disclosing abuse and elix galatea which is exactly what john did is that out of an armed as lynn said that's practice the judge holding these kinds of meetings behind closed doors you know it's always been allowed that the judge can hold an ex parte in camera meeting behind closed doors but what what is happening more and more is that in these cases involving so-called classified information a lot more of the court proceeding is taking place behind closed doors and hidden not only from the defendant but from the public at large to a much greater degree john do you feel like you're being used as an example perhaps as a warning to other western blowers oh yes and i think that the journalists will tell
you that their national security sources have just dried up since my prosecution i think that's what the government's point was i think i think this case is much bigger than just john kiriakou it goes to freedom of speech and freedom of the press and i think there's a there's a real war on free speech right now. well. to that point you just said judge brinkema specifically said that she wanted to make an example of john kiriakou that she was trying to set and example by giving him that sentence i mean she specifically stated that now john you're facing thirty months behind bars and president. do you have any regrets now looking back on that my only regret is that i didn't hire an attorney before i blew the whistle on torture i wish i had done that but no. the one thing that i wanted most of all was for my children to be proud of me and i know that morally i did the right thing and my children are proud
of me and that's the most important thing to do when you go to prison i'm going to prison sometime in the next five to seven weeks i'm supposed to receive a letter from the duro of prisons telling me to get on to report in the in the facility how many kids you have i have five kids and how are you and your family preparing it's hard. you have to worry about everything from a will to a power of attorney to child care. it's it's hard we couldn't get through it without people like justin friends attorneys advisors supporters without without this community of people that's come out to help me i couldn't possibly have gotten through this well i really appreciate you coming on having me before i know that you know your time is very precious right now sarah that really appreciate you coming on and telling us about everything that you both have been through that was
your former cia agent and whistleblower john kerry aku and also jazz and graphic director of national security and human rights at the government accountability project. well president obama is kicking off a second term after his inauguration last week he was reelected despite a less than stellar state of the economy but if you can recall the days that led up to the election third quarter data came out that reflected in economy in much better shape take a lot you're looking at the quarter to quarter growth in the year two thousand and twelve you see in the third quarter growth rises substantially these figures came out in those critical days before the election but then in the fourth quarter post-election there is no growth in fact it's the first time the economy shrank since two thousand and nine well for some this is all too much of a coincidence and believe the bureau of labor statistics manipulated the data to keep president obama in the white house but could this really be the case to
discuss this further i'm joined by gerald celente a publisher of the trends journal and director of the trends research institute carol nice to see you so this is a pretty strong accusation that the president manipulated the numbers to get reelected what proof is there to back that up. well it's an accusation but you know let's let's go over the records here so that hussein has weapons of mass destruction and so i just al-qaeda i didn't have sex with that woman monica lewinsky i'm the crook and you go down the line i made it so why would anybody believe what the government leaders say let's start off with that and then you know i don't know whether or not they cooked the books but i do look at the data and the data shows that they front loaded a lot of spending into the third quarter and they really juice the economy the through government spending so then when the fourth quarter came about of course the numbers are reported you know after the election government spending decreased
for example in defense by some twenty two percent so you know that's just the government juice was enough to keep it looking a lot more steady than the declining it really is and much of the discrepancy in growth can be attributed to this military spending it seems that there was splurging in the third quarter and then kind of a plunge in defense spending later on in the fourth quarter so do you think that that was done on purpose oh i again i don't know you know i don't know what they had in their minds but i wouldn't put anything past any of them i mean look what's going on they they rig the whole why boardgame the federal reserve has been dumping money as of this system we didn't even know about it for years so i wouldn't put anything past any of the politicians. you know of course are going to provide these justifications for why the numbers are the way that they are one example is that you know this hype surrounding seaquest ration these across the board government
constant many government agencies are tightening their belts preparing for this so this is an explanation for the economy shrinking and not necessarily you know an orchestrated plan by the obama administration to i don't find that. realistic at all the guy with the defense the plugs department did a whole. let's cut twenty two percent not when you're listening to the testimony that's going on now about why they should be cutting anything. this year so no i don't believe that at all but then again you know we also have to look at you know some other real factors you know what did exports decline almost eight percent you know well look let's look what's going on with what's really only keeping the economy going at all is because of these low interest rates and flooding money into the system so i believe that you know i wouldn't put anything past the government and accelerating spending in the third quarter to boost. the g.d.p.
but let's look at another factor if we want to talk about the government juicing numbers to make the administration look better as anybody looked at the curve unoiled gasoline prices did anyone notice that beginning at april gasoline prices started to dog back in december they started to shoot back up again to me it's that kind of manipulation that is obvious that's interesting and we know that people certainly care a lot about gas prices we know that don't you think like let's let's say that there was some kind of a strategy here don't you think that they it wasn't a very subtle strategy that was the case because you know you see a spike and then a death don't you think that there would be a little bit more you know nuance or try to do it in a land that's a little bit less of a stark contrast well again you know when you when you look at the consumer you know gasoline prices mean a lot you know that's a really hits the big screen t.v.
the things that count g.d.p. rolls off the mind of most people they don't know what that even is even though it could have read press just before the election so again you know i don't know their motivation but what i do know again is where it hit the consumer in the pot. at the most and that's gasoline prices that's in front of everybody virtually every day those numbers really don't know before the election and now they're spiking back up after the election so to me that is the subtleness that i looked for a fourth quarter didn't look good at all shrank the first time since two thousand and nine but more recently the white house or the excuse me the stock market has surged more than six percent this year breaking a record so gerald isn't that a good sign again why is money going into the stock market listen to the words that just came out of davos last week three letters l.b.o.
leveraged buyouts money is she got getting any interest in the old days when i was a kid people had this strange thing they used to put money away in the bank liz and get a return on it with interest rate increase you put your money in the bank now you take it out you lost money accounting for inflation and currency devaluation so people this is a known strategy that by lowering interest rates more money would flood into the equity markets they knew this we said this when it was happening before they when they started to do it so that's what's boosting up the stock market and again the only thing that's keeping any of this going not only in the u.s. in the u.k. now in japan in the european central banks they're all dumping money into the system and lowering interest rates that's the only thing that's keeping it alive and that's was propping up the stock market now darryl's we don't have too much time left but when you see the figures out the fourth quarter doesn't look very
good this is prompting fears of another recession i know that you are kind of that master forecaster what do you think is the likelihood of another recession our forecast the twenty third. is more of the same but words. we see a recession on the horizon is going to be a point liz when they have to raise interest rates because of the debasement devaluation of the car in cities when that happens you're not going to see homes being sold bought the way they are now you're going to see a slow down across the board again the only thing that's keeping this going is the cheap muddy the zero interest rates not only in the u.s. but in japan and around the world it's a currency war everyone knows it at some point the interest rates are going to go up and the economy's going to go down. that's a very unsettling forecast you bring us there especially you know
a lot of people hope and pray and that we are getting out of this last recession that we're at that we were in really appreciate you coming on that was gerald cilento a publisher of the trends journal and director of the trends and research institutes well the u.s. senate is holding a hearing today on one of president obama's most controversial choices for key job and his team chuck hagel is being quizzed on everything from relations with israel and the arab world to his view on women in the military as at his confirmation hearing today to be defense secretary of defense hagel was grilled about his stance on israel i would ask you senator hagel to till the country the world at large particularly the state of israel you made a mistake but not signing that letter whose orders you it goes to the president it was to the president well i would look at it i don't recall the loader and i look at it going in and say well all i can say it was a very big deal at
a very important time and the lack of signature but you chills up my spine because i can't imagine not signing a letter like that at a time when it really mattered. well hagar has been accused of being anti israel in our guy until you can explain why certain political groups are so against his nomination chuck hagel has been under attack since his name was floated those president obama's pick for the defense secretary position it would see attack ads on all major us he channels saying what a terrible defense secretary chuck hagel would be all the large december and march of january they've been running these ads you know between commercials of beauty products drugs and whatnot so somewhere between those you could catch attack ads like this one secretary of defense chuck hagel president obama says he supports sanctions on iran to go vote against the legal voted against labeling iran's revolutionary guard a terrorist group and while president obama says all options are on the table for
preventing a nuclear iran eagle says military action is not viable the simple responsible option president obama or secretary of defense chuck hagel is not responsible option. that ad was sponsored by the emergency committee for itself what the trucking will do to deserve that as a u.s. senator chuck hagel has been critical of israel's policy he's been critical of the israeli lobby in washington here's what he said the political reality is that the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here i've always argued against some of the dumb things they do because i don't think it's in the interest of israel i just don't think it's smart for israel and of quote among other things chuck hagel dared to say that u.s. interests should trump israeli interests if they conflict he supported direct negotiations with iran and unlike many other politicians here in washington who keep repeating the all options on the table mantra but these publicly they say that
chuck hagel has been straightforward in saying a strike on iran should not be an option and he has also been a proponent of a more even handed u.s. policy with regards to these really palestinian conflict and the u.s. has been anything but even handed on the issue it's also for statements like this one that he's been under attack take a look this is chuck hagel in two thousand and six the united states will remain committed to defending israel our relationship with israel is a special and historic. but it need not and cannot be at the expense of our arab and muslim relationships that is an irresponsible and dangerous false choice some saw president obama's decision to nominate chuck hagel as his message to these really hard liners we actually heard president obama say there's too much war talk going on and maybe nominating chuck hagel is his way of bringing down the tension and not not everybody here in washington likes that message but
what's interesting since the beginning of the attack came. over these two months or so many of the attackers have sort of withdrawn their objections over charcoals domination some say could be because they received assurances behind closed doors that as defense secretary chuck hagel is not going to make any drastic moves to really challenge washington's foreign policy with the doxies. that was our national correspondent diane chickens. well in mali there is a growing concern over how french and local forces are handling the fight against islamic militants and we managed to get exclusive footage of their alleged atrocities and spoke to a local journalist gonzalo launcher about it. elements of the last front comedy as ranch troops are making progress much faster than expected at home and we are now in say good north of town but i'm now his military insists office area safe and
secure as the local authorities say that additionally the road is monitored by an american drone strike in the night because their core there is a strict over night traffic curfew in place all to ensure the security of the population about it and yet it is their own security the amount the citizens are concerned about is the french in mali and shrimps that somebody brought with them and this is the smell or a bad it should be noted that the mallee interests in question had actually fled the country's north about when islamists took power by pulling off a coup in the capital city as you know march two thousand and twelve this explains why the country's army has needed to trust or support admissability populations don't besides that as we continue moving north we find evidence of war crime or look we have heard of the murder of a few save our citizens by the soldiers not only did they kill them i mean the bodies into the drinking water well located in the center of the town making the rest of the population want also there again extrajudicial killing us you know for
instance a sixteen year old soldier called adama is being accused of terrorism but according to his words the reason why does a kokanee but look at me over the movie for one since he had in west africa. in so far i met an old man you know i asked him for a drink of water and then we asked him about working with gena he said that he won't share water with terrorists and you know that i said that i wasn't a terrorist and i was just thirsty for money and since i was wearing them or what uniform they took me to present i noticed i didn't know that there was working with module really only realize that through the room as i started here and then when everyone when i was a young lad and i was just cooking food for them no one even talked to me. these are just a few cases of the known war crimes and second of persecution and although many addicts who say it's not true and other arabs and turks are still being persecuted on charges of allegedly collaborating with al qaida our contacts in timbuktu have informed us that many shops belonging to arabs have been looted. that was local
journalist gonzalo one show breaking the site is coming up in thirty minutes here on our tail let's check in with abby martin to see what is on today's agenda abby was today we're going to be talking about the biggest landfill that's actually in the ocean the great pacific garbage patch how it got to be where it is how we can get rid of it how we can prevent more from accumulating in the ocean really disturbing story there will be covered we're also talking of john kiriakou as well . analyst who was facing thirty months in prison for speaking out against torture talking about the normalization of civil liberties a roshan's that more broken the. right abbi thanks for that update thirty minutes we're going to say without you more and that's going to do it now for the news but for more on the stars become very tech in our you tube channel you tube dot com slash r t america our web site r t dot com slash usa and follow me on twitter at liz wall.